Bank of America and Fidelity Investments are to participate in the Liberty Alliance project, an Internet identity programme intended to challenge Microsoft's rival Passport initiative.
The Liberty coalition has been formed by Sun in a bid to develop standards governing the control and maintenance of personal information on the Internet. The Alliance aims to develop an interoperable system for people to conduct e-commerce transactions over a range of Web connected devices using a single sign-on identity.
Users would be free to decide which companies had access to their private data, and control the level of personal information disclosed. The Alliance programme is a direct challenge to Microsoft's Passport initiative, which Sun claims would give Microsoft too much control over Web authentication and personal information.
Tim Arnoult, Bank of America technology & operations executive, says: "Our participation in the Liberty Alliance is crucial because it gives us the opportunity to shape standards that contain the very strongest information security and privacy protections for our customers."
The bank joins founder Sun Microsystems, as well as Fidelity Investments, Apache Software Foundation, Bell Canada Enterprises, Cingular, Collabnet, Dun and Bradstreet, Gemplus, GM, Global Crossing, Intuit, NTT DoCoMo, O'Reilly and Associates, RSA Security, Sabre, Travelocity, and Verisign.
The Alliance is scheduled to meet autumn 2001 to begin addressing business practices, privacy, consumer adoption and technology evolution.